Don’t let them tame you and Wear your passion are the two phrases that are the hallmark of the AtelierCG brand. AtelierCG, founded by Cindy G., is a Los Angeles based small business that specializes in luxury accessories. Inspired by Cindy’s love of horses, the collection is handcrafted in the USA and created for longevity in both design and function. AtelierCG creates leather goods, jewelry, and apparel. You never know what gorgeous, thoughtful design you might discover. I sat down with Cindy G. to learn more about AtelierCG and was truly struck by the passion in her design, voice, and overall dedication to the equestrian lifestyle.
Lynn Mueller: How did you first start AtelierCG?
Cindy G: I was an apparel designer before I started AtelierCG, and I owned an apparel company with my former husband. After our relationship ended, I was looking for a fresh start and wanted to move on and start a new life. I lived in Paris for a year, actually, and was fascinated with small shops and the practice of shop owners living upstairs, with their shops downstairs – as well as, of course, the style! The word “Atelier” in my brand means “design” in French – and “CG” is my initials.
LM: Was there a specific product that inspired you to kick off this fresh start with AtelierCG?
CG: Absolutely. I had a very bad riding accident, and it took me three months to be able to walk again afterwards. I didn’t have a phone on me, either, to call for help. I hated fanny packs, as they seemed to get in the way and cause more harm than good. Truly, we need to carry a phone for safety. I hand-stitched a leather holster for myself that could either hang from the saddle or loop on a belt. When I brought it to the barn, everyone there loved it and wondered where they could get their own. I found a company who specialized in leather goods, and engaged them to help refine the holster. It drapes to the body and can also hold treats. It’s lovely.
LM: What is your brand mission? How did you get the idea to create the lines Don’t let them tame you and Wear your passion?
CG: It all started when I was still living with my ex-husband. If I can’t ride, I feel unbalanced. My husband just couldn’t understand that horses and riding made me so happy. The entire equestrian lifestyle makes me happy, either when I’m donning a favorite equestrian accessory or actually getting in the saddle. Be you! Most people are afraid to show who they are. My themes are around not letting anyone break your spirit. I want to encourage more people to really be themselves and live what their beliefs are. Like other sports, biking for example, equestrian sport is a lifestyle, not just a hobby.
LM: What do you actually enjoy designing most, leather goods, jewelry, or apparel?
CG: I never plan! Design comes out like a mood. Maybe I’ll see something at the barn or experience something interesting. A few days ago, it was pouring rain in California, and my studio flooded. The mood struck me to create a tank top instead of a sweatshirt that I was originally working on. I also get bored very quickly; I’ll pick up a piece of chain and start playing with it in between helping my children with homework, and it’ll turn into an a piece of jewelry. I’m not held to a plan, like I must create a certain type of necklace by an exact date. I actually didn’t even plan to create shirts for sale, originally! At my first photo shoot, I had shirts made with my brand themes printed on them, and clients asked where they could purchase them. I’ll also dress mannequins at events I attend, like races, and clients love the slogans. This ended up inspiring my latest shirt design that says I’m limited edition – meaning that you’re not perfect and that’s okay.
LM: What are your favorite specific products at the moment? I actually own one of your V-neck shirts that says Don’t let them tame you!
CG: AtelierCG’s new arrivals! There is the Sir Barton necklace with a thick, black chain and Dee bit closure. There’s also the Appaloosa bracelet with leather details, and the Lusitano bangle in black and gold. The Kelso necklace in black and gold. The Cavalla tank, also, is soft and versatile. It has a longer hem in the back for a great French tuck, and you can wear it with breeches or dress it up with heels and a jacket.
LM: Has your business been affected by COVID-19? Do you plan to pivot at all in the future?
CG: It definitely has been affected. My factories are very limited for producing apparel. In Nevada, one factory had to close for two weeks. I have another small factory in Los Angeles that does leather work, and it’s closed. Employees are flat-out not allowed to work. Also, the retail stores where my items are sold are closed, unless they’re participating in curbside pickup. Retailers aren’t ordering because this time is so uncertain. Events that I typically vend at, such as the Land Rover Kentucky 3-Day Event, have been canceled. So, I’m now focusing fully on online business and selling through my website.
LM: What are you doing to “stay sane” during this crazy time? Are you spending more time in the studio?
CG: I’m spending lots of time at home with family! My children and I take bike rides (being sure to social distance if there’s anyone else outside), and I take long walks. I also paint, walk the dog, and take care of my horse and pet squirrel. My children are doing school online now, so there is plenty of homework to help with, too.
LM: What are your short-term and long-term goals for AtelierCG?
CG: In the short-term, I want to partner up with other companies and triple my online business due to COVID-19. I also want to improve my connections with clients, such as with FaceTime customer service. I miss attending events because I like to interact with my clients in person. In the long-term, I want to attend the Kentucky Derby. This year, plans are to attend the Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Races, so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there! Many clients know AtelierCG as a jewelry brand, so I want to emphasize lifestyle more by growing apparel and home accessories. You walk into a house, and there’s so much AtelierCG. A blanket, a candle. I want to combine the entire passion of equestrian lifestyle.
To learn more about AtelierCG and shop for beautiful accessories, leather goods, and apparel, shop at AtelierCG’s website. Be sure to “like” and follow on Facebook and Instagram, as well – especially if you want to see cute pictures of pet squirrel, Hope.
Editor’s Note: Some responses have been edited for clarity. Feature photo by AtelierCG.